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Windows team manager Alex Simons gives the public a taste of file management in Windows 8.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

The new client consolidates your mess of Windows into a single neat GUI pane.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

You can now get details galore on copy speed and more.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

There's also a new interface for selectively resolving file conflicts.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)
All sorts of new additions should reduce pain and clutter when copying files with Win 8

Anyone who's ever had to prepare for a reinstall of their Windows OS -- be it to prepare for an upgrade, or to try to solve technical issues -- is familiar with the pain of slow copies, dealing with at times confusing name collisions, and multiple cluttering Windows.

Microsoft Corp. (
MSFT) is very aware of these issues (in recent years it's increasingly collected remote telemetry data from volunteers to determine what's going wrong and right in Windows).  And in Windows 8, its plan is to offer a dramatically improved file transfer experience.

In a post to the Microsoft Developer Network "Building Windows" 
blog and a corresponding video, Windows engineering team manager Alex Simons shows off the new features.

When executing multiple simultaneous copies, gone are the multiple windows of yore.  You now get a single comprehensive panel.  Each transfer element offers the option of cancelling or pausing the transfer.  For example, if you want to speed up a specific transfer, you can pause your other transfers so the system resources will focus on the targeted transaction.

The GUI element also has an option to provide detailed information on each transaction, including an eye-catching chart of the transfer speed.  The features in the new pane closely resemble those you find in modern browsers for tracking downloads -- and it's a good thing.

Rounding out the improvements is a new option for handling conflicts.  In addition to the replace all and skip all categories found in Windows 7, there's now an option "Choose the files to keep in the destination folder".  This allows for users to select the copy they most want.  This allows you to selectively replace only some files in the destination folder.  You can even double click to open files for further examination.

Microsoft says the new tools will be a valuable addition to Windows 8 as 20 percent of file transfers in previous versions of Windows take longer than 2 minutes to complete.  Further, about 1 in 18 jobs fails, either due to a network interruption or by user cancellation.

The company also acknowledges it's estimates of the remaining time to copy haven't been the best in the past, making it the butt of some jokes in that regard.  Mr. Simons writes, "We’re anticipating that many of you are going to want to know what we’ve done to improve the accuracy of the estimated time remaining for a copy to complete. (This has been the source of some pretty funny 
jokes over the years)."

Microsoft says while approximate 1 out of 200 Windows users use a dedicated copying client -- like TeraCopy, FastCopy, and Copy Handler -- whose abilities may surpass the new additions, for most this will be the first relief from the previous hassle-prone copying.

The team is also working to reduce dialogues labeled by users as "redundant" or "annoying", such as the confirmation of dropping stuff in the recycling bin, or the confirmation of merging folders.

Windows 8 is set to 
release in late 2012 and has been called "revolutionary" by some Microsoft team members and the company's "riskiest" product by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  The OS will be Microsoft's first operating system to support ARM processors, the first OS to incorporate the stylish metro look, and the first Microsoft OS streamlined for a better tablet experience.

If for some reason you feel some of these new features sound horrible, don't worry.  We've heard Microsoft should be conducting 
a public beta testing/feedback phase for Windows 8 early next year, following in the footsteps of the tremendously successful Windows 7 beta.



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RE: Im still waiting for
By inighthawki on 8/26/2011 9:05:50 AM , Rating: 2
It still requires clicking on the folder icon to view them though. I like to be able, at any point in time, to look at the taskbar and know everything I have open, and that includes more than just explorer. I often have multiple instances of explorer, visual studio, adobe reader, etc open all at once, switching between them very often. It simply increases my productivity to always know where every window is, and this is my #1 complaint about OSX and its dock menu, which cripples me in the same way.


RE: Im still waiting for
By cknobman on 8/26/2011 9:23:13 AM , Rating: 2
Wow talk about unnecessary clutter though. One of the best things about Windows 7 was the new taskbar and how it removed the unnecessary crap and how hovering over a single application/folder icon will show you a preview of every single instance open (not to mention the preview isnt static but active so you can actually see if it is doing something). This allows me to easily see, without maximizing the item, what instance I want to pull up or what is going on with a particular instance.

And you want to go back to the dark ages?? As a fellow developer I just don't understand this.


RE: Im still waiting for
By quiksilvr on 8/26/2011 9:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
Same. One click for more organization and less errors sifting through multiple files until finding the right one seems much more arduous to me.


RE: Im still waiting for
By inighthawki on 8/26/2011 9:35:10 AM , Rating: 2
Well it's really the same fundamental problem I have with OSX's interface. I cannot look at the screen and know what windows I have open. It takes extra work. I have never found myself "sifting" through files, windows, etc. I've always known exactly where everything was.


RE: Im still waiting for
By inighthawki on 8/26/2011 9:30:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This allows me to easily see, without maximizing the item, what instance I want to pull up or what is going on with a particular instance.

This is my point. I can already do this without even so much as moving the mouse. I just have to glance down at my taskbar and I know already what each thing is. I like this for the same reason that web browsers have tabs and now just one big button that says "All tabs here" with previews as you hover over. It makes it easy to find the one you want with NO extra work. To each his own, but I just think that the old taskbar was more productive. Sure I can have as many open windows without it becoming more cluttered, but I don't have to perform extra work or take extra time to find what I'm looking for.


RE: Im still waiting for
By NellyFromMA on 8/26/2011 10:16:20 AM , Rating: 2
No sense talking them out of it. I too can have multiple Visual Studios, numerous Explorer folders open, various RPDS, etc.

Having them all appear under on icon on the taskbar is awful for me. At home, I probably could get by with it, but even then I don't prefer it.

It's a preference thing.


RE: Im still waiting for
By Topweasel on 8/26/2011 10:18:15 AM , Rating: 2
Some people I support has so many applications and folders open that you have to scroll down on the start menu in XP to see them. Also without grouping you end up with the application buttons getting smaller and smaller losing the immediate visibility of the description. How is that helping you out. You don't even have to click to see the windows in Windows 7, all you have to do is mouse over it. Alt-Tab will also show the window, and windows-tab (which shows a much larger side angle view).

All of them are much better options then cluttering the start bar.


RE: Im still waiting for
By NellyFromMA on 8/26/2011 10:43:42 AM , Rating: 2
I mean, not that I feel like I have to justify my work flow, but needless to say, if I choose it, it probably is helping my out quite a bit, no?

Again, it boils down to preference. I don't want to have to click to mouse over to have an effect of viewing a window to narrow down which one I want, I can get that narrowed down just fine. I do expand the taskbar to two lines, which is done a lot better in Windows 7 than in XP if that sheds any light.

If the taskbar does become too full I think the applications that have high amounts of windows do group, but usually they are autosized in the taskbar just fine. The top row doesn't have to match the bottom size, its not a uniform grid.

Just saying, it enabled me to be way more productive than the extra clicks and mousing over just to determine what window I want. Also, I have two monitors so more things are up at once, so thats a factor too I suppose. Couldn't work with only one ever again!


RE: Im still waiting for
By Topweasel on 8/26/2011 11:19:26 AM , Rating: 2
Not saying it doesn't help, and not that you have to justify your work flow to a complete stranger on the interwebs but because you chose it doesn't mean it makes it more productive for you. Some times things are quicker and easier, but take a little time to get used to, but lots of people once they get comfortable with a system no matter how simple the learning curve is they refuse to go through it. Sometimes people just need to leave their comfort shell once in a while.

Also this may not apply to you but most people are visual people and reading the folder descriptions would actually take more time to find the folder they want that way then mousing over to a spot that doesn't change and seeing each fold and moving the mouse a mere inch or two and selecting the folder they want. It also makes it easier to close the windows you no longer need.


RE: Im still waiting for
By inighthawki on 8/26/2011 11:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
In regards to your comment before this one, I can understand that if people really have enough windows open that you need to scroll on the taskbar, then grouping them becomes highly beneficial. Once you have that many windows, it becomes unproductive regardless of how you organize it.

But more to the point, I would just like to point out that I actually use both methods. On my desktop at home, I use the never combine option to show the text labels for reasons I've mentioned above. On my several year old laptop, though, it has limited horizontal screen space so I actually use the normal layout, since it gets crowded quite quickly. I have used it quite extensively too, and as long as my goal is not productivity, I don't mind it at all, and it works. But as a person who has used both a decent amount, I find not combining them is far more productive.


RE: Im still waiting for
By Valahano on 8/26/2011 10:54:36 AM , Rating: 2
I remember the window buttons by their position in the taskbar and grouping doesn't go well with this at all for me. I always turn it off.

I never consider my numerous windows in the taskbar as a clutter. I mean, if they are there, I need them for some reason.
At my workstation there are usually around 30 windows open - there's plenty of space to list them all at once on a vertical taskbar.
At home I rarely hit 10.

Since there's a certain order in the taskbar (oldest windows are first), for me it's very easy to navigate and pick windows quickly.

Anyway, I'd say that "full view" and "grouped view" are both necessary - to each his own. There's nothing outdated or uber-modern in any of the approaches.


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